-NITDA warns Nigerians on use of public internet
YBTC NEWS-The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), on Monday warned citizens on the use of Public Internet Access (PIA), saying it could pose some risks to their devices.
NITDA gave the warning in a statement signed by Dr Isa Pantami, the Director General of agency in Abuja.
Pantami said the warning was in line with the agency’s mandate to promote and regulate the Information Technology (IT) sector of the country.
According to him, PIA providers like hotels, IT companies, restaurants, event centres should ensure they comply with the PIA regulations as stipulated in the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation of NITDA, 2019.
He said that only registered, verified and vetted providers could provide public internet access services in Nigeria.
“The management of NITDA will like to bring to the notice of the general public on the need for caution in the use of Public Internet Access services.
“While PIA services are generally free and convenient for the public, where personal data is inappropriately or insecurely shared, it may constitute risks to members of the public.
“Similarly, where operators cannot provide adequate security for use of these services, malicious software and other applications can be introduced to harm users or to incur significant economic loss.
“The general public is therefore advised to always enquire if providers of free internet access services are duly registered with NITDA and therefore met all minimum requirements to offer free PIA securely in Nigeria,” he said.
He also admonished the general public to ensure that their personal information, such as personnel identities, residential addresses, banking details, among others were not shared over public networks.
Pantami added that members of the public should use up-to-date antivirus software on their laptops and other computing devices before use of such free and PIA services.
“Always verify Wi-Fi access point before connection as the possibility exists for criminals to create a fake Wi-Fi name to lure the public into connecting to it and thereby intercepting activities on the network.
“Users are therefore advised to always re-confirm when in doubt, the legitimacy of a Wi-Fi name before connecting their devices.
“Always confirm that a website is secure before carrying out transactions. Website addresses starting with https:// provide secure and encrypted transmission of users’ data.
“Users are advised to always ensure that websites display “https:” and/or a locked padlock symbol on their browsers before entering personal or financial details while using public internet access points,” Pantami said.
According to him, users should also try using Virtual Private Network (VPN) enabled browsers.
He said that VPN prevents cyber criminals from reading the user’s data by encrypting it as it passes through the network.
“Where possible, users are advised to download and use VPN software on their web browsers when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network.
“Avoid using special service sites on public internet access services.
“Some special services that request for users’ identity, passwords or personal information, online banking services should be avoided while connected to public internet access points,” he said.
The NITDA boss, however, called on the public to support the agency in its efforts toward ensuring citizens’ safety and security while on the cyberspace. (NAN)
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